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Be bold!


  • Content is more important than formatting. The wiki system allows more experienced proofreaders to clean up your entries if they don't have perfect formatting. Go ahead and put something in the wiki, and then ask for help if you want someone to clean up the formatting or discuss the content with you. As you gain experience you can help others with their pages.
  • You can try out different editing techniques in the Sandbox.
  • You can't mess up anything so badly that we can't go back to the previous version. EcoliWiki saves old versions of every page.
  • Use the discussion pages or the EcoliHub forum if you're not sure about something.
  • Editing is a collaborative effort that should strive for a neutral point of view (NPOV). We want links to your strong opinions, but these should be placed outside the main EcoliWiki site, where others can't edit them. See Help:Trackbacks.

Editing Existing Pages

To edit a page, click either the edit tab on top of the display, or one of the edit links for a specific subsection. This will bring up an editing form.

Starting New Pages

There are different ways of creating new pages in EcoliWiki.

Using the Page Generator

The EcoliWiki team has created preformatted templates for different types of pages in the wiki, such as Gene Pages, Literature Pages, and Strain Pages. If you want to create a new page that corresponds to one of these types of pages, use the [Page_Generator]. The Page Generator will create a new page that is already formatted with all the boxes ready to fill in.

Following a Red Link

Often, you will be reading a page that someone else created that has both Blue and Red text links. Links in red text are to pages that don't exist yet; whoever put in the link thought a page was needed, but didn't get around to creating one. If you click on such a link, you'll get an edit page for that page.

Create new page from search results

Before creating a new page, it is useful to see if a similar page already exists. If you search for a page and nothing comes up, EcoliWiki will offer you a chance to create a new page.

What if I don't like the Page Name after I've saved it?

Moving a page will rename it and create a redirect to the new name. If you can't move the page, ask for help from one of our administrators.


If you want to have a different Page name link to an existing page, you need to make a redirect. Redirects are useful for cases where there are different ways of referring to the same thing. EcoliWiki uses redirects to make finding what you want easier. Redirects are created by making a page with the desired nickname that has the following content: #REDIRECT [[Name of page where redirect will go]]

For example: Information about the Protein Data Bank (PDB) is found on a page named Protein Data Bank (PDB). We would like the user to be able to search for PDB and be directed to the existing page. To do this, we created a page named PDB and added the content: #REDIRECT [[Protein Data Bank (PDB)]]

You can find out more about using redirects at Wikimedia Help:Redirect

Working in Edit Mode

Error creating thumbnail: /bin/bash: /opt/local/bin/convert: No such file or directory Error code: 127
Edit buttons at bottom of a page in Edit mode

Adding or editing is just like any other web form. Click or drag to select an insertion point, and just type away. Just remember don't use the TAB key to space your text. That will take you out of the editing box.

Note that you can preview your changes before saving them. This is useful, since things don't always come out as expected, but you should also be sure to save at regular intervals. If you don't, your changes could be lost if your session times out, or if someone else starts editing the page while you're working on it. The show changes button shows you what parts of the page you've changed. The Summary box allows you to put in a short description of why you edited the page. This is optional, but it can be useful for when you, or others, come back and edit the page again. For example, if you delete a material that you think is inappropriate for a page, you might want to explain that to keep others from adding it back without thinking about it. Others may disagree with you and add it back anyway, but in that case, you should work out a neutral consensus text with the other editors. Each page in the wiki has a discussion page which is a good place to work things out.

Here's a common unintended effect: 
If your text winds up in a box like this, it's because you started it on a line beginning with one or more blank spaces.  So don't try to indent your paragraphs!

This is all you need to know to start editing. If you're just adding text or fixing typos, you can just go ahead and skip the rest of this tutorial.

Adding Links

One of the most important aspects of making a page useful are the links to other pages. These can be links to other pages in EcoliWiki or links to pages on other websites

Internal Links

To insert a link to another page in EcoliWiki, put the name of the page inside a pair of brackets.

[[What's new?]]


What's new?

Note that this is case-sensitive. What's New?, what's New?, and what's new? all give red links, indicating no pages with those names. However, if you want different capitalizations to all lead to the same page you can create those pages and have them contain only a REDIRECT statement that points to the original page.

Piped Links

Often, it is useful to have link to a page using different text than the page name. For example, at the top of this page, there is a sentence that starts with:

Use the discussion pages or...

This actually links to Help:Discussion Pages, not discussion pages. The link as made using a pipe character (|) between the PageName and the text for the link:

[[Help:Discussion Pages|discussion pages]]
Linking to a Subsection

To link to a subsection in the middle of the page, use the # sign after the PageName, followed by a subsection name. For example:

[[Help:Editing:Basics#Italics, Bold, and Bold Italics]]


Help:Editing:Basics#Italics, Bold, and Bold Italics

which links to a subsection on this Help page. Of course, this can be used in a piped link too, as in how to make italics.

Linking to Category Indices

Pages can be placed into categories, and the index pages for different categories are very useful for finding content. The PageName for a Category index is Category:CategoryName, but making a link as


Doesn't link to the Help index, it adds the page to that category. To make a link to an index page, add a colon (:) before the PageName, like this:


to get


Again, you can pipe this to give a link to a list of help pages.

External Links

If you just place a URL in the text, it will be converted to a link: However, usually you want the linked text to be something other than the raw URL. To do that, put the URL and the link text, separated by a space, inside square brackets like this:

[ EcoliWiki home page]


EcoliWiki home page

This external link method will also work for links to other pages inside EcoliWiki. However, the internal link methods described above are preferred, because they allow the system to count how the pages link to each other. For example, does not show up in "What links here" for the Community Portal page

Interwiki Links

There are some external sites that we will be linking to so often that it is useful to have shortcuts for them. These are called interwiki links.

Formatting characters

Italics, Bold, and Bold Italics

One of the most common edits will be to change E. coli to E. coli, or to italicize a gene name. Occasionally, you may want to make bold text, or bold italic text. Here's how:

italics ''italics'' Text is surrounded by two single quote (') marks on each side.
bold '''bold''' Text is surrounded by three single quote (') marks on each side.
bold italics '''''bold italics''''' Text is surrounded by five (three for bold, two for italics) single quote (') marks on each side.
'italicized single quoted' '' 'italicized single quoted' '' Put a blank space in between the marks for italics and the single quotes you want to appear in the text.
Strikethrough Text <s>Strikethrough Text</s>

Most of the time on EcoliWiki, you should not need anything besides italics. But now you know how to do the other kinds.


One of the reasons you should not need to do much beyond italics is that you don't need bold or different font sizes to make subheadings. Subheadings at different levels are made by putting different numbers of '=' signs around text on a line, where the string of equals signs are the first thing on the line.

On EcoliWiki pages, the Page Title is a level 1 heading, so start any headings with two = signs, and increase the number for subheadings and sub-subheadings. Headings made in this way are automatically used to generate a table of contents for each page in outline format, like the one for this page:


To add a page to a category, use


This will not be rendered on the page, but will add a category link to the bottom of the page. For example, this page is in the Help category. A list of categories can be found at Special:Categories. Using a new CategoryName creates a new Category. Any given page can belong to multiple categories.

More Info

  • Basic Editing tutorial - Just enough to get started: Entering Edit mode for existing pages, creating new pages, adding Links, basic formatting (italic,bold,bold-italic), Subheadings, Categories
  • Intermediate Editing tutorial (all on one page) - For users who want more control over appearance: Indenting, Lists, Image and table basics. Basic templates, Including content from one page into another. Individual tutorials: